May is Mental Health Awareness Month

01 May May is Mental Health Awareness Month

By: Rachel Sobel for ThinkHR, Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash

One in five adults (43.8 million people) will experience a mental illness in any given year. The consequences of living with a mental illness or substance use disorder affect all areas of a person’s life, including work. And that affects every employer’s bottom line: Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.

However, more than half of people who need mental health treatment do not receive it. In addition to stigma, a major deterrent to treatment is a lack of understanding and support from employers. For example, a survey by Mental Health America found that more than three-quarters of respondents are afraid of getting punished for taking a day off to attend to their mental health.

Investing in a mentally healthy workforce is good for business, says the Center for Workplace Mental Health. It estimates that 80 percent of employees treated for mental illness report improved productivity and satisfaction. Lower healthcare costs, decreased absenteeism, and reduced disability costs also result when employees feel it’s safe to seek the mental health care they need thanks to awareness and a supportive culture.

Take the First Step

Creating a mental-health friendly workplace starts with understanding the issue. We will be writing more about issues surrounding mental health in the workplace on this blog over the course of the month. Subscribe in the box at the right to receive emails when new content is posted.

Check out these resources to learn more about how you can foster a mental-health friendly workplace:


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